Does Life Have A Postscript?
How many times after having written a letter, have you added a PS, postscript? The Latin term, post scriptum, essentially means, “That which comes after the writing,” or “the writing which comes afterwards.” This definition can be very useful in helping us understand a little bit of “that which comes afterwards” in terms of the life cycle women experience.
In a postscript, that which comes afterwards often contains more than could be expressed in the original content of the letter or book. For women who are living life after menopause, or post-menopause, there are many additional thoughts to be conveyed in just how life has changed and gone on to hold more than originally expected.
Defining Menopause and Post-Menopause
Menopause is the complete cessation of menstruation for a period of 12 months and post-menopause literally means after the menopause, or after the stopping of periods. In a technical sense, that means that once the year has passed without a period, a woman is considered post-menopausal. The difficulty for many women lies in the area of knowing exactly when the last period happens because that information is not available until 12 months later. Often, a woman will not have a period for seven or eight months and her hopes are high that she is menopausal. Then, she has another period and has to start counting all over again.
Eventually, she arrives at the point of post-menopause and the next question arises, is a woman post-menopausal until the day she dies? Well, in theory the answer is yes, in the same way that you could say a woman is post-partum for the entire time of life after giving birth. However, there is a difference because there is a new beginning after the end of post-partum. After the childbearing years, the new beginning is menopause. It is very disconcerting to think that the many years of life after menopause are called “post-menopause”; somehow giving the sense that there is not another beginning.
Midlife Crisis and Anticipating The “Other Side”
While men express their midlife crisis in terms of a new sports car or a new wife, women go through such things as hot flashes, disinterest in sex and added poundage around the middle. However, the real point for both sexes is that there is awareness that things are changing, and there is something on the other side of the transition. We all hold to the idea that there are great things on the “other side” of menopause, but there does not seem to be much backup for the theory. Women in years past never talked about menopause. Discussion of their bodies, sex drive, and joy of life seem to be glaringly absent. However, things are beginning to change as more boomers are experiencing midlife and talking about it.
Today’s post-menopausal woman can view life from a new perspective. No longer does menopause mark the end of being productive. Rather, new thoughts, ideas, and experiences await her as she steps into this most exciting phase of life.
Connect with other menopausal women in our menopause forum.